The Wine Cyclist

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Putting 2009 On The Map

by on Dec.31, 2009, under Cycling, Miscellany

I like maps. I’m even a bit of a map geek. And I’m of the opinion that maps are the best way to sum up all the insanity that was 2009. So I give you, the maps of 2009:

You may remember that cycling trip I was doing this summer, well, here’s a close approximation of the route.

And then there was driving/car camping tour of the southwest more recently. This autumn’s route looked something like this.

I didn’t check these for overwhelming accuracy. It is, after all, New Year’s Eve, and I’ve got some very important drinking to do tonight. I hope your 2009 went well. I wish you all the best for 2010.

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Victory!

by on Aug.20, 2009, under Cycling

Two months, seven states, and three thousand miles later…

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Misty Mountain Tops

by on Aug.11, 2009, under Cycling, Wine

IMG_0746Wow. OK. So I know I have a lot of catching up to do. My last two posts were far from complete. I’ll see how much ground I can cover tonight before it gets too late. (This picture here is one of many I took on the side trip up to Glacier National Park, but more on that later).

As you may have gathered from the last post, I successfully survived my trip over the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass, despite some rather insane gravel roads. The gravel actually spoiled what would have otherwise been a really nice downhill, but alas, I had to ride the brakes hard not to lose it on the dirt road there. Silly skinny road tires. This would be an awesome pass for mountain biking I think. No worries, though. I came across many other wonderful downhills.

The Bitterroots
IMG_0656The next day even, when I went over Lost Trail Pass and came down a marvelous mountain into the Bitterroot Valley, making my way up US 93. Just in case you thought Montana might be running out of beauty with all that I’ve seen on this trip, the Bitterroots do not disappoint in supplying more. Fantastic, no?

I ended up crashing for several nights with a friend of mine near Lolo, MT. In that time, I was able to go on a couple of very nice hikes in the Bitterroot Mountains (among other things, but again, more on that later), including this hike up to Bass Lake on a very treacherous and stormy Friday.

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The Beer Cyclist?

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Over The Divide

by on Aug.03, 2009, under Cycling

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Yellowstone and Back

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0542I was able to spend three very lovely days in Yellowstone National Park. I ended up purchasing an Interagency Annual Pass figuring I’ll probably also be hitting up Glacier, Olympic and who knows what else over the next twelve months. Well worth the cost.

My friend in West Yellowstone dropped me off Monday afternoon and I spent a couple days backpacking around the Fairy Falls area and camping out in the Yellowstone back country. This way I could stay away from most of the tourists during the peak season (though even getting back country camping spots was a challenge). Wednesday morning, I made my way over to the Old Faithful area and hiked up to Mallard Lake and back. I of course, watched the ever famous geyser as well (honestly, ho hum).

Fairy Falls
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The hike up to Mallard Lake.
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IMG_0566Yesterday morning, I set out from West Yellowstone headed back up the Madison River Valley. I ended up putting in 110 miles yesterday and made it all the way to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. This morning, I took the caverns tour, and that was quite a bit of fun as well.

Alas, I haven’t the time to upload those, or the many other pictures I’ve taken this week. I should have some more time as I get into the Missoula area. I’m about to head over Lemhi Pass and cross the Continental Divide tomorrow. I’ll be sure to check in again sometime next week with more details.

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Leaving the Missouri Behind

by on Jul.27, 2009, under Cycling

The Gallatin River helping to form the Missouri

The Gallatin River helping to form the Missouri

On July 25, 1805, The Corps of Discover, led by Captains Lewis and Clark, came across the headwaters of the Missouri River, where three other rivers, which they named the Jefferson, the Madison and the Gallatin come together to set the Missouri out on its 2,540 mile journey to the Mississippi River. 204 years later, to the day, I stood at the headwaters of the Missouri River. Cool, no?

It was a two day ride from Great Falls down to Three Forks. Between Great Falls and Helena was some amazing scenery along the river. It was a hot couple of days of riding there, and I got trapped in a couple small storms. I also popped my first flat tire of the trip. Just before Three Forks, though, I did get to stop in at this cool place called Wheat Montana Farms Bakery & Deli. These guys have a great story.

Between Great Falls and Helena

Between Great Falls and Helena

The Folkvord Family started farming wheat out here, but after a while of it, they were troubled by the vagaries of selling their wheat on the whole market, so they decided to go one step further and bake their wheat into finished product. They now have a very awesome deli and bakery right off of I-90 near Three Forks. I stopped in for a sandwich and to hide from the rain for a little while.

After exploring the headwaters near Three Forks, I took a detour off route from Lewis & Clark Trail to make my way down to Yellowstone. For the most part, I was following along the Madison River into the town of West Yellowstone, where I am today, before I set off into the park for a few days. I’m probably going to take a bit of a break from cycling and do some backpacking around Yellowstone. I’ll have to start keeping two mileage counts this trip: cycled miles and hiked miles.

There’s been some tough riding around western Montana, and I know it’s only going to get harder as I go over the mountains, but the beauty continues to amaze and makes the experience what it is. I’ve adapted more, I think, to the inherent solitude of bicycle touring — perhaps the amazing things I’m getting to see have helped. I’m looking forward to the change of pace backpacking will bring for a few days. I’ve made friends with a tour guide from Yellowstone here who is going to tell me which spots are awesome to go to and which spots to avoid. Already, he’s shown me hidden, tucked away, secret hot springs to soak in. But I’ll tell you more about it on the flip side of Yellowstone.

More Montana pictures…
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The Mountains Are Coming!

by on Jul.23, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0502The mountains are coming! The mountains are coming! DUCK AND COVER!

So I’ve made it to Great Falls, MT. I think that puts me at about 1,650 miles of cycling. Not really having any idea what my final mileage count is going to be on this trip (who knows what detours will distract me), I’ve decided to call this the half-way point. Were I to shoot straight for the coast from here, I’d be well over half done, but I’m expecting my path through western Montana to resemble a drunkard’s walk. There’s just too much cool stuff I want to check out while I’m in the area.

From Winnett, I kept on rolling down SR 200, up and over the Judith Mountains and into Lewistown (which is, incidentally, not named after Capt. Lewis of the famed expidition, but another military officer, from a later period of history, who established Fort Lewis there. Lewistown also claims to be the geographic center of Montana). From Lewistown, I deviated from SR 200 to make my way up to Fort Benton.

It was on this road that I took my first dive of the trip. Riding down this 8% grade into a valley by Square Butte (every cyclist’s dream), and while distracted by the amazing scenary of the valley unfolding before me, the pavement ran out underneath me and suddenly I was hitting gravel road at thiry miles an hour. My skinny little road tires were not happy with the situation and down I went. Nothing major, just a minor scrape here and there, and the bike held up pretty well: dirty, but no damage. So keep on rolling I did.

IMG_0504Fort Benton is quite a nice town, and it’s on my list of places I’d like to return to someday (just look at that view of the Missouri River). There are a few companies that run multi-day canoe and camping tours of the river, which sounds like an excellent vacation for some future summer. The Upper Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center was quite fun as well. I happened to stumble into town on the evening of a talk about the geology of the region. Did you know bentonite was named for Fort Benton?

You may not even know what bentonite is. It has many uses, but true wine geeks should know it as a commonly used fining agent to remove cloudy proteins from wine. The other really nifty thing about this clay is that when it is wet, it expands to over twice its original volume. This can be very useful or very problematic, depending on the situation.

Last, but hardly least, I stopped in at a used bookstore and outdoor equipment store (handy combination). Picked up some new shorts and another book to read. This store was really quite something. Unfortunately, the name of it escapes me at the moment, but Fort Benton isn’t a big town, and I believe it was on 17th St right off from Front Ave. So, if you’re ever in Fort Benton, stop in and say hi to Tom, the owner, and perhaps pick up something fun to read.

It was not a long ride from Fort Benton into Great Falls. I arrived early in the afternoon on Tuesday and spent some time cycling along the River’s Edge Trail. The falls that named the town have long been dammed in the interest of hydroelectric power, but there are still some cool river views to be had. From here, I head south, continuing along the Missouri towards the headwaters at Three Forks. Until next time, enjoy some more scenic views of Montana.

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Big Sky Beauty

by on Jul.17, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0464Montana gave me a heck of a welcome on Tuesday. One heck of a welcome, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I had one last stop in North Dakota before crossing the border.

I rolled on down SR 1804 from Williston almost to the border to check out the Fort Union Historic Site. Fort Union used to be a big, important trading post on the Missouri River. Today, a reconstruction of it sits mere yards from the Montana border (technically speaking, the parking lot is in Montana). It seems like a cool bit of history, so I explored for a while. The shot above is the view of the Missouri River from Fort Union. This is only a couple of miles from where the Yellowstone River and the Missouri River come together. I took some shots of Fort Union as well.

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From there I hopped back up to US 2 to cross over into Montana. I had been bucking some pretty intense winds from the west all day, but just before crossing the border, the storm descended upon me. The rain started, and the winds picked up. I mean, seriously picked up. I spent the next 22 miles fighting headwinds gusting up to 40mph. Some of the gusts were bringing me to a standstill even on a downhill. A couple of east-bound cyclists I ran into at a rest stop in Bainville thought I was completely nuts for riding into this wind. What does it say about me when the other crazies think I’m the crazy one. The rain cleared by the time I made it into Culbertson. I found the city park and set up camp for the night.

Wednesday morning, a howling wind made me want to just crawl back into my sleeping bag and rest for the day, but I set out. In the end, I actually cleared my first century of the trip. I was fighting remnants of Tuesdays headwinds for about 55 miles, but then I turned south and things got nice and calm. I made it the full 100 miles from Culbertson to Circle, MT.

Thursday I rolled into Jordan, MT and tonight, I’m in Winnett, MT. Along the way, I’ve seen some amazing views of the Montana Badlands. Just breathtaking… The photos don’t really do justice to the vistas, but I’ll try to let them speak for themselves anyways.

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Three Weeks!

by on Jul.13, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0450Can you believe it has been three weeks, to the day, that I set out from Madison, WI? It feels like I’ve been on the road for so much longer than that. My entire recent memory is occupied by thoughts of cycling. Yet, it’s only been twenty one days. I’ve covered 1,120 miles, and here I sit in Williston, ND — 15 miles from the Montana border — to tell you that there’s much more fun yet to come.

In this part of the country, when they say “open road,” they know what they are talking about. From Bismarck to Williston I have ridden many a stretch of road that look exactly like this: long, rolling and complete bereft of another soul. It’s both frightening and awe inspiring.

I rolled out of Bismarck on Wednesday morning with not too far to go and a nice wind at my back (this, of course, would not last). For the first time in this trip, I encountered some truly outstanding scenic riding. Going across Wisconsin and Minnesota was nice and all, but the views from the road they offered simply do not compare to some of the views I had rolling up SR 1804 out of Bismarck.

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It was a short ride — a touch more than 50 miles — the first day out of Bismarck, and I arrived at Cross Ranch State Park in the middle of the afternoon with some time to spare and hang out. The tent sites were right on the Missouri River and offered up some cool views as well. I rather enjoyed this campground. The tent sites were nicely laid out.

IMG_0442There was one other tenter at the campground this Wednesday night. There were a few RVers as well, but the RV sites were nicely isolated from the tent sites. We hung out, built a nice big campfire, and traded stories. Several other tent sites were marked as “reserved,” so we had expected a few other tenters to be around that night, but I guess everyone chickened out in face of the impending storm.

A storm, a storm, oh yes, a storm. We were right at the eastern edge of a tornado warning zone that covered a large swath of North Dakota’s Badlands that night. The ranger didn’t think any tornadoes would touch down near the park, since there were strong winds out of the southeast blowing things away from us, but we were warned about the heavy rain and lightning coming our way. My tent held fast against the onslaught of water from the sky, fortunately, and I had only a few things to dry out in the morning sun.

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Heading On The Trail

by on Jul.07, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0431Happy 4th of July from Sanborn, ND! I’m not in Sanborn any more, but I rolled through that town on the evening of the 4th, and had an absolute blast. I’ve made my way from Fargo over to Bismarck, and I’m taking one more day off before getting on the Lewis & Clark Trail tomorrow.

So I zipped on out of Fargo on Saturday morning. This was to be an interesting stretch of cycling for me, as I really had no idea where I would be camping for the nights between Fargo and Bismarck. The cycling was a challenge, as well. There are many unpaved roads between these two cities. I found myself on them sometimes, and I found myself on the shoulder of I-94 to avoid them at other times. Saturday evening, I rolled into a town called Sanborn. There was a rally going on of some sort. I moseyed my way on into a pub called Ditos to ask about places to set up a tent for the night. That’s when things got fun…

In Ditos I ran into a guy named James. He invited me over to his barbecue for some delicious ribs, steaks, pheasant, and beer; setting up a tent in his yard would also be cool. What more could a random cyclist rolling through town ask for? Initially, I figured I’d just party and then set up the tent when it was all said and done. In the end, though, he invited me to crash on his couch.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that the world really is full of nice people. This trip, with the many generous people I’ve met along the way, is an excellent reminder of how friendly people can be.

Sunday morning, I got a bit of a late start out, but we were up late watching fireworks (I took some video as well, see below), so that’s understandable. I made a brief stop in Jamestown to grab a couple of things, found myself on some dirt roads for a while (very annoying, but then so is riding the interstate), which slowed me up. But I made my way over to Tappen, ND for an evening of stealth camping.

Yesterday’s ride in Bismarck proved breezy and easy. I had a nice tail wind (finally!) most of the ride in, and the hills were few and gradual. It was early in the afternoon when I rolled in.

Fascinating enough, this morning, on my day off, there were a few thunderstorms rolling in. There have been two days of rain so far on this trip. Once today, while I was working on writing this post and checking up on email, and once on my day off in Stillwater, MN. Let’s hope this trend continues.

Tomorrow, I get to what I consider the real meat of this trip. Tomorrow, I pick up the Lewis & Clark Trail. I will hopefully run into more cyclists now that I’m on an actual cycling route. I’ve met many wonderful people so far, but there have been many a lonely night of solo camping as well. As much as I love camping, it really is best as a shared experience. On the trail, I’m hoping I’ll run into other cyclists camping out at the same spots as I am.

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Land of 10,000 Lakes

by on Jul.03, 2009, under Cycling

Naa NaNaNaNaa NaNaNaNaa NaNaNa NaNaNa NaNaNaNaaa

Erm… sorry. That’s Land of 1,000 Dances.

IMG_0410I’ve made my way across the rest of Minnesota and I’m now updating this blog from Fargo, ND. This view here is looking across the St. Croix River in Stillwater, MN.

It’s been very windy in Minnesota. The first three days in setting out from Stillwater were especially windy. I need to get used to it. I know I’m basically heading into prevailing winds the whole trip, but it does get very tiring at times. The cross winds are especially brutal. Balance becomes a bit of a challenge when you’ve got a 20mph gust coming at your side.

The kindness that I’ve been encountering along the way has more than made up for it, though. By chance, I connected with a birthday party in Little Falls. There was music, food, volleyball, a nice big bonfire and all manner of good times. It was a great evening.

There’s been some solitude in my camping as well, and that can be tough at times. Camping alone is just not as much fun as camping with a group of people. Fortunately, I’m usually exhausted enough by the time that I crawl into my sleeping bag that I just pass right out and it doesn’t matter.

So I’m 630 miles into the trip. So, not quite a quarter of the way done. I need to run a few errands in Fargo today, though, so I’ll wrap this post up now, and just give you all some more pictures. Sadly, there’s no picture of a “Welcome to North Dakota” sign. I crossed the Red River on back country roads that they didn’t feel were important enough to sign. Ah well.

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Time For A Break

by on Jun.27, 2009, under Cycling, Philosophy

So I’m sure you’re all waiting for this blog update. Here you are. I’m still alive and well, but tired in Stillwater, MN. Over the past five days, I’ve logged nearly 300 miles of cycling. Whew…

IMG_0388I set out from Madison on Monday morning. Look at that beer gut there. We’re gonna do something about that, no doubt. I’ll take an after picture of me on the Oregon coast and we can look at the two side by side.

It’s been a long, hot week. I think the highs I’ve encountered every day this week have gotten close to 90, if not broken through (I think Tuesday was 95), and the humidity’s been pretty intense too. Rare cloud cover made for a lot of cycling down sun-parched roads. Fortunately, I have a nice stockpile of sunscreen to keep all that annoying solar cancer away. Even with all that, though, I’m developing a solid and well-defined cyclist’s tan (kinda like a farmer’s tan, but with some extra shapes produced by the cycling gloves).

IMG_0393It was a very warm night to be camping in White Mound County Park on Monday night. I noticed a lot of abandoned firewood at other empty campsites. Enough that I could’ve built a pretty sweet fire, but it was just too damn hot. I was sweating bullets for quite a while and didn’t even want to think about crawling into my sleeping bag until after the sun had set. Even then I had left it half-way open all night, but I awoke early, and knowing it would be a long, hot day, set out early as well to get as many miles in as I could before the heat really started pounding down.

Made a stop in the library in Richland Center to check in online briefly, and post some quick updates (by the way, I seem to be updating my twitter page more often than this site. So for more timely, if less detailed updates, surf on over there as well. Say what you will about twitter, and I can say many things, but it is, on occasion, handy). All the computers there were running linux, which I thought was pretty cool for a small town library. The morning was getting on, so I was off again, down a very hilly US Route 14 into Viroqua, WI. There are some surprisingly solid uphills on that route. A few climbs of 8% or greater grades had me thoroughly worn out. I think that I’m getting better at these intense climbs, slowly but surely.

IMG_0395At the top of some of these climbs, at least you might run into this very friendly sign. The sign you see here is probably a cyclist’s best friend. It means time to cruise like the wind. There are many other road signs that have special meaning to cyclists. Perhaps there’s a blog post in there somewhere.

There was a very lovely homestead just out from Viroqua whose owners let me crash for a night. A fun game of scrabble and some delicious fresh fruits and veggies was about all I could take in my exhausted state, but a good time was had no doubt. Back on US 14 the next morning and I was up over some more hills, heading through La Crosse and up to Trempealeau.

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Riding High In The Saddle

by on Jun.21, 2009, under Cycling, Music

IMG_0387I’m up way later than I should be. In part, there’s a lot of excitement looking forward to tomorrow. Mostly, I’ve just been up packing and double-checking my supplies. I think I’m ready to go, now, logistically speaking. Psychologically… well, I’m going in the morning ready or not. No giving up until I reach the Pacific Ocean. It still freaks me out to think about. I’m about to bicycle 2,800 miles from Wisconsin (around a few detours) to the coast of Oregon.

Since I could not go without a few parting words, here I sit, typing out one more pre-launch essay while sipping on some New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale and listening to the latest album from Melody Gardot.

I can’t technically be claiming to ride a fat tire bike, but I’ve got 700x32s on her at the moment, and that gives me a pretty stable and balanced ride.

It was a pain in the ass packing everything up tonight, but now it’s done. I’m hauling way too much food, but that’ll be taken care of in a hurry, no doubt, and I’ll just have to watch my food purchases in the future to prevent myself from packing too much stuff around. That bike is heavy though. It’ll be an interesting ride tomorrow.

IMG_0386I’ve been riding around Madison a bit over this last week — not as much as I would’ve liked, but it’s still nice to put a few miles in. The intense miles are about to start. There’s some nice riding around Madison. You get some bike paths with some really cool lake views. It’s a very bike friendly town overall, I would say.

It’s also the home of Trek Bicycles. There’s a Trek retail outlet I was able to stop in at. This was very handy as I was able to get stock spare parts that are an exact match for my FX 7.3 without too much worry.

To continue my completely disjointed late-night, per-departure ramblings, this beer is quite tasty. It’s right out of the fridge, so it’s probably colder than I technically should be drinking it, but after a long night of packing up the panniers, it is quite refreshing at this temperature.

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Ithaca to Canandaigua, NY

by on May.25, 2009, under Cycling, Wine

Day 5: Zero Day in Ithaca

So my last update was during my rest day of the trip hanging out in Ithaca. Fun little town to hang out in. It was the week before graduation so there was much activity and craziness about.

The evening before (so, still Day 4, really), we had stopped in to the Alehouse for dinner. Quite the selection of burgers. I ended up trying something called the “Big Sexy” Burger; the burger is rubbed in garlic and onion, then dipped in crushed red pepper. It comes with American and cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and barbecue sauce. It was quite sizeable and quite delicious.

On Thursday (back to Day 5 now), after poking about most of the morning, I went over to The Commons to meet up with JP and his buddy George (JP is my friend in Rochester — I was crashing with him at the beginning of the trip), who were motorcycling around the region for a couple of days. We chilled and enjoyed the sunshine for a while before heading on over to the Moosewood for dinner (tasty chipotle catfish). As the evening got on, we headed up the hill to check out a few pubs there. Most notable was a stop in Stella’s for some delicious bourbon and beer.

With that, I wrapped up a lazy day in Ithaca. It was nice to get some rest, especially as I knew I had a long, hard day ahead of me.

Day 6: Ithaca to Dundee

The View of Seneca Lake while Climbing out of Watkins GlenThis day was by far the hardest day of the trip, as I was covering quite a distance (over 45 miles), and the terrain was quite hilly. No climbs as impressive as the climb up to the national forest, but many long hills that still wear quite a bit. I wanted to stop in at Watkins Glen State Park, so I spent the morning crossing the very hilly stretch from the south end of Cayuga Lake to the south end of Seneca Lake. The downhill into Watkins Glen was pretty impressive, but I knew I would have to pay for it later with the climb out of Watkins Glen on the other side.

The gorge at Watkins Glen was phenomenally beautiful. So naturally, I took many pictures.

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Geneva to Ithaca, NY

by on May.21, 2009, under Cycling, Wine

It’s been a few days, and we have some catching up to do.

Day 2: Geneva to the Finger Lakes National Forest

Vines on Seneca LakeBefore departing Geneva on bike, JH, my wonderful host in Geneva, drove me around to a couple of the wineries in his area. We stopped in for a late morning tasting at Fox Run Vineyards and Anthony Road Vineyards. This is the part of the trip where I regret not having the hauling capacity for some bottles of wine (can you imagine how shaken up and sun-scorched they’d get strapped to the back of my bike for a week?), but at least I’m able to try these tasty beverages.

Fox Run had some delicious rieslings and gewurztraminers of both the dry and off-dry varieties. Their whites were nicely balanced on the whole. The complexity of their cabernet franc really wowed me, but the winner of the tasting in my opinion was the reserve cabernet franc. The reserve CF had a pleasant spice both on the nose and on the palate. It’s smokey, finely structured finish with just the right amount of oak and tannin is what sold me the most on it. Definitely one to remember.

We also sampled the Fox Run tawny port, which I’m told is made primarily in an Australian port style as opposed to a traditional one (but the host at the winery was unable to elaborate on the meaning of that, so I’m still at a bit of a loss myself). It had the right amount of sweetness and a pleasant nutty note to it, but for whatever reason, there was a fairly intense alcohol/medicinal burn to it that kind of put me off.

Moseying on a bit further down route 14, we stopped in at Anthony Road. There we were able to sample the 2005 Tierce dry riesling (a joint effort between Fox Run, Anthony Road, and one other winery that eludes my memory at the moment). I enjoyed this quite a bit. It had a strong mineral/flinty component to it that was balanced out with some good passion fruit notes and a crisp acidity. The Anthony Road Devonian Red (blend of cab franc, pinot noir, and lemberger) also quite surprised me with it’s almost bourbon-esque vanilla nose and clove spice flavor, especially given it’s $10 price point.

So, with the first two wineries of the tour under my belt, I set off on my bike from Geneva around to the east side of Seneca Lake and on down I went. I passed a few wineries along the way that I thought about stopping in at (the picture above is near Ventosa Vineyards, I believe), but with my late start on the day and the many miles I had yet to go, I limited myself to one stop in at Lamoreaux Landing.

Lake view at Lamoreaux LandingAt Lamoreaux I mostly sampled their whites, pairing the reserve riesling against the red oak riesling and the dry gewurztraminer against the semi-dry. The reserve riesling had a nice pomaceous crispness and a pleasant minerality. It seemed much more dignified than the red oak riesling, which comes from younger vines. The red oak riesling had a more intense floral nose, and more of a tropical fruit thing going on. Both of the gewurztraminers had a good nose of lychee and rose petal, as well as some good baking spice on the finish. The semi-dry had a fuller body to it, owing to the extra sugar, while the dry felt a little more balanced with its fruit notes on the palate.

I also sampled the reserve cabernet franc, which was a beefy, full, rich, red wine that I could see going really well with game meats and barbecue. Dark chocolate and dark fruit on the nose paved the way for some nice dark cherry and baking spice notes on the palate. It finished off with subtle oak and tannins that rounded the whole thing out nicely.

Camping in the Finger Lakes National ForestThe afternoon was getting on, so it was time to figure out where to sleep. I figured I’d head up to the national forest and set up a tent for the night (I love national forests). It was a beast of a climb getting up there, though. I rode up Ball Diamond Rd from route 414 into the forest and it was an intense climb. It was a three mile long stretch that gained probably 1,500 feet of elevation from the lake’s shore to the forest. I was ready for some rest after that haul. I walked the bike about a mile down the trail and found a nice patch of land for the tent. I was out by nightfall.

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